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Entertainment, Recreation Return with Changes

Industries stay optimistic and embrace new challenges as they face an uncertain future.

Even before the state began easing stay-at-home restrictions, entertainment and recreation facilities were mapping out plans to safely reopen.

The Wharton Center for Performing Arts released its 2020-21 lineup in mid-May in anticipation of audiences eager to get back to an evening of arts and culture.

“The world has changed, but the Wharton Center mission has not. We will continue to inspire the mind and move the soul,” Bob Hoffman, public relations manager of the Wharton Center, said.

Yet even with an optimistic outlook, industries were bracing to meet new challenges. In early May, Grand Rapids-based Studio C — the parent company of the 12 Celebration Cinemas in Michigan — said it would be stepping up cleaning schedules, limiting people in theaters and waiving online fees for advance ticket sales.

“All of the big, new releases for March, for April, for May and the beginning of June essentially got taken off the table,” spokesperson Emily Loeks told WZZM-TV. “That’s really tough in an industry like ours. It’s not just opening the doors; we can’t do that without a good product to show.”

Golf was one of the recreation outlets that saw an early opening, and enthusiasts quickly took advantage of the opportunity.

“Golf is extremely important to the economy and lifestyle of Michiganders,” Laura Bavaird, Golf Association of Michigan director of member relations, said. “Michigan ranks as the fourth-highest golf course tally in the United States, so to say that golf is important to us could be considered an understatement.”

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